Carry On

By Geri Sullivan

Airport security screeners have seen what

I hope is more than the usual amount of

weird stuff in my carry-on luggage over

the years. CPAP equipment for sleep apnea

wasn't all that unusual when I started

toting it with me during the summer of 2000, and it's even more common now. Modest amounts of jewelry are also bog-standard carry-on fare. But the same can't be said for James White's complete run of <i>Hyphen</i> that I squeezed into my carry-on backpack when I returned from Northern Ireland in 1995, and I'm quite certain the tubes of black mimeo ink I carried out to Ted White about 10 days after the publication of <i>SFFY #11</i> count among the truly weird stuff when it comes to what's been carried aboard an airplane in the last lustrum or three.

On the mimeo ink occasion, I was flying to Washington, D.C. for the fannish memorial held for Terry Hughes, associate editor/publisher of <i>SFFY #6</i> and our named co-editor of <i>SFFY #11</i>. It was just a few months after 9/11. I wasn't checking any luggage and I opted on the side of smooth travels by packing only ink that came in plastic tubes. I could just imagine what they would have thought if a bunch of lead Gestetner tubes had shown up on the screen. Demonstrating that the tubes carried nothing more than black ink could have easily turned more than a tad messy, and I wanted to get the ink to Ted more than I wanted whatever "entertainment" and explanations would have accompanied my passage through the airport security checkpoint

More recently, I surveyed my carry-on luggage at the end of a 3-week, 4-part vacation in the midwest this year. The bag of salted black licorice in fish shapes for Deb Geisler wasn't that strange, but if it had all worked as I intended, the salted licorice would have been tucked in next to the Twinzy Toy mold for making the Man-in-the-Moon doll face. As it turned out, I ended up shipping the toy mold at the last minute. I was concerned that TSA would deem the seven pounds of metal too weapon-like, little though it resembled one to me.

Between my jewelry bag and the CPAP headgear was a red velveteen bag, with gold embroidery, "Until we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge."

Inside that was a plastic bag, and inside that, the cremains of Willow, the American Water Spaniel Jeff Schalles and I owned together through the last half of the 1990s. Willow went to live with Jeff when he and I broke up. He'd given me her ID tag a few months after her death in 2005, and asked if I wanted her ashes when I visited Minneapolis this spring. I was surprised at just how strong and certain my "yes" was, and even more surprised by my desire to just rest my hand on the bag during my travels later that day. The ashes are not the dog, but the desire to give and receive her comfort and companionship was as strong as ever.

* * *

It's now several weeks later. SFFY is looking very real, as well it should considering the collation starts in two hours. Comfort and companionship have been the hallmark of the last four days, ever since Randy flew in on a red eye from the West Coast. We took my old living room sofa on a scenic tour before discovering that it won't fit in the flamingo loft over the garage. Indeed, the only place it will fit is back in the living room I was trying to remove it from. Walt Willis napped on that sofa when he and Madeleine visited after MagiCon in 1992; I'm not ready to completely part with it yet. After all, LeeH still has the sofabed Walter slept on during his first visit to America in 1952. LeeH's sofa is even more of a monster than mine. It's of the old style, with iron construction. Her parents had it recovered, so it's beige nowadays, rather than the blue print of its earlier life. Tucker slept on it, too. Tucker, Gina Ellis, Rusty Hevelin, Joe Siclari, Edie Stern, and other fans for all ages. Not <I>all</I> at the same time, though, no matter how much Tucker might have wished otherwise.

Randy probably thought he was finished with the heavy lifting by the time we headed over to Boston Monday to start printing the pages you're about to read. But then Dell shipped two, count 'em *two* color laser printers to our hosts, Deb Geisler and Mike Benveniste. You can thank the color printing on this page, !Nissassa, and quite probably page 1 for the opportunity presented by the timely, last minute arrival of that extra laser printer that we lugged into the NESFA clubhouse the day of the collation. Most of the other color pages came off an ink-jet printer. Full color printing on Fibertone. Who'da thunk it? It's perfect for SFFY – LeeH printed multi-color covers on the earliest issues, and guest editor-publishers have been challenged to keep up with her standards of innovation ever since.

I've also been following her excellent example in the recruitment of guest editor-publishers. Randy did the heavy lifting on the editorial side this time around; I had more than my usual fun with the layout while keeping a light editorial touch by working with most of our artists, talking with our regular contributors, and updating LeeH on our progress along the way. Randy and I had a blast putting this issue together; we wish you likewise in reading it!

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From the "As it was, forever shall it be" department:

"LeeH," I said, "I am of the opinion that assistant editors

must be rare and uncommon."

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Data entry by Judy Bemis
Hard copy provided by Geri Sullivan

Updated March 6, 2007. If you have a comment about these web pages please send a note to the Fanac Webmaster. Thank you.